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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Sep 13, 2006 11:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

So far, your experience seems to be the pattern--that is, folks kind of wandering into the scene, not knowing much about the band and therefore not experiencing these '77 shows in the manner that I am--as someone who only heard them on tape and after years of my own show-going.

Of course, this is only a small sampling to this point of people who've responded, but it's interesting that no one has said what i expected which is: "yeah, they really turned it on in '77...'heads were talking about the string of amazing performances from one venue to the next--the energy, the extended jamming, the incredible peaks, etc." Nor have I heard so far from 'heads who kept seeing the band after 1977 and can look back and say with certainty "there was nothing like those shows at Winterland, and in May, and the fall tour, etc."

You wouldn't have that reaction if you were just seeing them for the first time, as most who responded so far seem to, and the appreciation comes--as you say--years later upon re-discovering these shows in good sound quality on the LMA.

But keep the stories coming. Part of the reason i'm asking this is to check if i'm not the only one who thinks 1977 was some kind of bell weather mark for the band. To my ears, it is consistently the most incredible year by far, and it seems at least "donu" has confirmed that--yeah, the Cornell show WAS something special. (Sorry, Dick, and RIP, but I can't see how you could say otherwise).

cosmicC, if you do find that link, i'd be real curious to read it to see which shows Dick thinks were so much better that year (I'd put 10-29, 5-7 at the B-Garden, 5-9 in Buffalo, and several from the winterland ahead, but it's almost 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, they were all so good.)

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Poster: sonomajon Date: Sep 14, 2006 8:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

My first show was 6-10-73...I was just a 14 year old kid but my older bro took me and I had a great time and was overwhelmed by the scene...Saw a bunch in 76'...but to answer your question...yes I think a bunch of us started to realize we were experiencing something very special in the spring of 77...I saw the capital theater then one of the palladium shows but for me it got really smoking in Boston and continued through Buffalo...I made it a point on all nights to be within the first ten rows in front of Jerry getting"horribly smashed" and loving every minute of. Cornell was a mind blowing night where the band and audience were one along with the forces of nature...I walked into that show with sandals on and when we emerged from that field house Mother Nature had blown in a snow squall through Ithaca...So yeah it was beyond Morning Dew ...It was crystalline powdery snow on the ground with a big moon sneakin in and out of the clouds on the ride back to Oneonta...We started referring to the shows as going to "church" as for me it was a truly spiritual experience...In terms of vocals as a band IMHO in was never better than those spring shows...Just listen to the Comes A Time with Jerry and Donna from 5-9 Buffalo...gorgeous vocals! There was a ton of this blue construction paper around at the time and it sure seemed like we were all riding along the same wavelength. By the time the fall rolled around we were all chomping at the bit to see the boys again. I saw 11-4-5-6 and it was nothing short of spectacular! But it was different than the spring...aside from the sound (crunchier!) the vibe had subtely shifted as well...The crowds were a bit more raucous...and the band maybe a smidgeon less shall we say polished...which wasn't a negative at all...it was just different...Colgate was probably the best party I have ever been to in my life...People were very very high and pumped! Bertha just about blew the roof off and the BEW is my fave...the third solo pass Jerry just rips... Binghampton was another monster party...barely made it after driving back from Rochester the night b4..the bracket that held my alternator snapped on the way home from Rochester and I had to stop and rummage through some ones scrap wood pile on the side of a country road...found a 2x4 jammed it in and off we sped! The 1/2 step from Bing is second to none in my book...Anyway ther you go! The answer is yes iI think we knew it was something special!

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Sep 14, 2006 9:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: A question for the lucky '77 showgoers

Thank you for the tale, Sonamajon!

I can only say I wish i'd been there as well. Your example of the Comes a Time from Buff. is an excellent one...it's almost eerie how quiet the crowd gets, letting Jerry and Donna take the time to really stretch out those beautiful vocals and lyrics, and that guitar solo Jerry plays in the middle...words are insufficient to describe it.

I can see as well how once they returned in the fall, folks were understandably jacked up, wanting even MORE, and how the vibe amongst the crowd maybe wasn't as mellow, but it seems the boys did deliver. Those early Nov. shows are fantastic--totally agree w/the 1/2 Step call from the Bing.

I'm assuming you've heard or have a copy of the 10-29 show from N. Ill.? Wonder fo folks who were on tour the whole time were talking about the insane Mickey/billy drums at the end of Sugar Mag. and the like.

I guess i just find a groove and a smoothness to this year of shows that seems to have gotten away from the band almost as soon as '78 began. Of course, there were scores and scores of amazing shows in the years to follow, but from what i can hear, they never retained that "perfect storm" combination of intense jams, smooth, relaxed delivery, "perfect Brothers" standards of nailing the lyrics 99% of the time, and the occassional bring-down-the-house number all rolled into one, as Jerry might say.

Strangely, I expected Phil to spend a lot of time discussing 1977 in Searching for the Sound, but he just glances over it--probably b/c he says he spent most of that year inside a bottle of bourbon,and forgot a lot of it, but you wouldn't know that from his playing (as the opening bass groove to the Cornell Scarlet attests).

Glad you and your car eventually made it through to speak of these things, and thanks a ton for giving me the 411 on your attendance at those magic shows.

Any others with such tales? Bring it on!